The facility, which should be online and operational by the end of the year, will produce seed-based food products for the end user.
Despite the recent deluge of new laws and regulations attempting to severely restrict the hemp industry in states such as Texas, Georgia, Maryland, Virginia, Alaska, and Arkansas, there has also been substantial investment and expansion in the hemp market sector in the past several months.
As reported by Hemp Today, Chinese hemp food producer Q-Power, Inc. announced this week that it will invest $10 million into a new facility to produce seed-based food products at its Louisburg, NC complex. Representatives from Q-Power say they expect the factory to be up and running by the end of the year. In addition, officials also hinted at further investments down the line as Q-Power continues to expand its North American operations.
"We will expand our products and, probably, this factory will not be sufficient. That will be our next phase to expand to buy a new, bigger factory," Q-Power Chairwoman Zhiyi Zhang told WRAL TV, Raleigh.
"We will expand our products and, probably, this factory will not be sufficient. That will be our next phase to expand to buy a new, bigger factory."
- Q-Power Chairwoman Zhiyi Zhang
The company has been in business for over 20 years. It is just one part of a giant conglomerate owned by the Chinese government that makes food, clothing, lumber, metals, minerals, machinery, and petroleum items.
According to Zhiyi, the company will hire 20-30 new employees to run the predominantly automated phase I facility.
"We have imported some product from China already. So, we have set up a good relationship around the U.S. Q-Power is committed to investing and exploring the market in the United States to meet our American customers' needs," Zhiyi said.
"We have imported some product from China already. So, we have set up a good relationship around the U.S. Q-Power is committed to investing and exploring the market in the United States to meet our American customers' needs."
- Q-Power Chairwoman Zhiyi Zhang
Industry experts view the move as significant for Chinese hemp producers to gain a stronger foothold in the burgeoning American marketplace. So far this year, Chinese producers have shipped in roughly 100 tons of hemp seed worth half a million dollars to U.S. customers, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture's Agricultural Marketing Service statistics.
Conversely, Canadian hemp producers have sold over 3,500 tons of seeds valued at $39 million to U.S. clients through the first ten months of 2023. With most hemp seed and hempseed-derived products on the American market coming from Canada, Q-Power hopes to grab some of that market share by turning out 1,000 tons of hemp seed, oil, and protein annually at the facility.
The new investment comes as a welcome jolt of financial and job-creation capital for leaders in the Tarheel State. In 2022, according to USDA's National Agricultural Statistical Service, North Carolina hemp farmers only harvested 600 acres of hemp, with two-thirds of that for fiber and the rest for CBD manufacturing. Virtually none of the yielded crops went toward hemp grain farming.
"Having a company that's going to bring other alternatives and options for the consumer is a good thing," said Franklin County economic development director Barbara Fiedor.
"Having a company that's going to bring other alternatives and options for the consumer is a good thing."
- Franklin County, NC Economic Development Director Barbara Fiedor
There are very few things humans must have to survive and thrive. Food is one of those critical elements all carbon-based lifeforms cannot do without. Yet, according to nutritionists and environmental and agricultural experts, there will have to be a radical change to the human diet to sustain a projected global population of nearly ten billion people by the year 2050.
Hemp seeds could be vital to producing enough protein for human consumption while keeping the planet cooler and environmentally sound. According to the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), by 2050, humans will need to produce 60% more food to feed a population expected to exceed 10 billion people.
Finding healthy, sustainable, affordable protein sources for nourishing human nutrition and viable economic development will be critical. New investments like the one by Q-Power will be crucial to the overall future of hemp as a global food source. Hopefully, the example provided by Chinese hemp companies will inspire American entrepreneurs eager to exploit the health and financial benefits of the still-young and developing industry.